Why Do You Get Angry, and How Can You React Better?

Feeling angry at times is normal. In fact, it’s a natural response to threats and attacks, injustice and disappointment, which can give your emotional wellbeing the power it needs to deal with problems and move on. However, anger can damage your personal life, relationships, achievements and mental health unless it is dealt with in a healthy way.


As you go about your daily life, you’re constantly weighing up situations, and how you interpret them affects how you feel about them. If you decide a situation is dangerous, for example, you will feel afraid. If you decide you have been wronged, you will be angry. You might get angry because you or your loved ones face a certain threat, have been verbally or physically assaulted, have suffered a blow to your self-esteem, have lost money, have been treated unfairly and feel powerless to change it, or have principles that someone else is going against.


This then determines how you might act in the situation and, when it comes to anger, you can often react in a way that you will later regret. It is thought that anger influences your thought process; helping you to quickly translate complex information into simple terms, such as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. While this is useful in the case of an emergency, it can mean that you act before you’ve considered what else is relevant and made a rational decision about how to behave.


So what can you do to make sure you don’t let anger rule your behaviour?


1. Stop and think – Take a moment to think about what has made you angry, and the consequences of exploding in a rage, before you respond. Even if you’re in the middle of an argument, it’s never too late to give rational thinking time to kick in. You might try counting to ten before you act.


2. Get out of there – If you feel you might get aggressive or say something you’ll later regret, remove yourself from the situation and try taking it out on something soft like a cushion. Whether you want to hit it or scream into it, you can release the tension without hurting anyone, including yourself.


3. Use your imagination – Think about what your calmest friend would say to you, and give yourself the same advice, or try to imagine yourself in a relaxing scene. You might want to use your imagination by redirecting your negative energy into a creative activity, like writing or painting.